#TGE16

Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY’s Great Escape stage

A year on from their Great Escape debut, they’re a ferociously honed band back for seconds.

In between Brighton pier’s buttery churros stands, and the JoJo blaring out the tannoy (great choice, pier DJ) there’s a snaking queue for Black Honey. The local band are as synonymous with this beachy city as sticks of rock; they’ve been playing barely publicised shows at their mates’ Demob Happy’s cafe for ages, and parading down the promenade with their faithful flamingo Jerry firmly tucked under arms for just as long. Last year at The Great Escape, Black Honey were taking their first steps outside of their top-secret seaside bubble, with a treasure-chest full of potential. They were still finding their feet. At Horatio’s tonight, a year on, the band are unstoppable. They own the pier so effortlessly that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the famous white lights changed to read Black Honey for the evening.

“Brighton!” snarls Izzy earlier on, “are you with me!” Half of the town is, by the looks of things – the rest appear to be waiting outside the venue trying to sneak a peek. Revelling in the theatrical, she’s wide-eyed and volatile, letting loose unholy screeches during the twanging, rough-edged spaghetti Western opener ‘Spinning Wheel’. Horatio’s – all gaudy stained glass ceiling, and mahogany wooden booths – is a venue practically custom-built for Black Honey, too. It’s slightly like a pub that might appear in an incredibly British (and kitsch) reboot of Twin Peaks. And with Tommy Taylor’s plunking basslines to contend with, and Chris Ostler’s twanging, Tarantino riffs to contend with, it’s a wonder said glass ceiling lives to tell the tale.

All of a sudden, a hushed quiet falls over Horatio’s, and Izzy’s hopped off the stage to patrol the pit. Everyone in the room, on the band’s suggestion, is crouching down on the floor, waiting to pop up like jack-in-a-boxes. The cue is ‘Corrine’s soaring, roaring melodrama. If Corrine herself is anywhere near Brighton beach tonight, she’s bound to hear “Corrine, come back to me,” echoing onto the shore at earsplitting volume.

Loading out later on after the show, Black Honey don’t quite get their names in lights Instead, they go one better, and quite literally make the pier theirs. Security guards and chip-eating revellers have to scurry for their lives as the band roar down the pier on a fast moving trolley full of gear; Izzy B. Phillips stands at the helm cackling like a possessed chariot racer. It’s no wonder they’re elated after a gig that bloody great.

Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY's Great Escape stage Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY's Great Escape stage Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY's Great Escape stage Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY's Great Escape stage Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY's Great Escape stage Black Honey bring flamingos and trolley-chaos to DIY's Great Escape stage

Photos: Emma Swann

DIY is at The Great Escape 2016, 19th-21st May. Follow everything here.

Tags: Black Honey, The Great Escape, Festivals, Reviews, Live Reviews

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